As I sit here, I listen to the sounds of a prerecorded thunderstorm, one among many tips (along with med changes, page to be updated soon with my full cocktail) from my managing psychiatrist to help my transition to bed easier.
But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me catch y’all up to speed.
I was reassessed and allowed back into the three week mental health day program, as I have been struggling with my moods.
First, it’s been nothing but splendid. I have a new psychiatrist and a new managing nurse, and I feel it’s a much more supportive team.
Just when you think you understand your own mental illness pretty thoroughly; I’ve learned that I have been experiencing mixed mania episodes – super rapid cycling too. In response to this, my psychiatrist decided to mix it up with my medication, try something that hasn’t been tried in a while to see if maybe it’d be effective in times such as these.
I was taken off of Prozac completely and suddenly – prozac has been my MAIN medication for the last… 10 or so years? And he took me off of it completely, overnight. I was terrified this would come with bad side effects especially considering the dose I was on and the length of time I’d been on it. Luckily, seemingly no problems with that.
He also, at the same time, took me off of Abilify completely and suddently – a drug that has helped me immensely with energy. I have not noticed less energy since stopping it three weeks ago.
He took me off these medications, as he had a new one in mind, and felt that taking prozac and abilify with it was counter-intuitive in my case.
So I started Epival. Blood tests to check my liver and such as this can be a dangerous medication for some. I started at 500mg and was quickly upped to 1000mg as the doctor realized it wasn’t overly sedating for me. He also doubled my Seroquel dose.
Reasoning behind all this madness: I’ve been experiencing mixed bipolar episodes and it’s causing (even more) trouble going to bed.
Let me make this clear. I am not bothered by sleeping, I love the feeling of snoozing, when I’m ready for it. However, lately I seem to have developed an irrational fear of going to bed. I get feelings of worthlessness for thinking I haven’t done enough and don’t deserve sleep. I get scared of being left alone with my thoughts.
So because the link between my sleep and my mental wellbeing is so pronounced, my nurse and psychiatrist decided to make sleep my primary priority, because we can’t work on other issues if I’m not sleeping right.
I should mention, this psychiatrist is the first to make me cry in YEARS. I mean, it’s all just become so routine and predictable. He seems to have a different approach, and it’s keeping me on my toes, making me think. I absolutely respect him – however I don’t think I’ll be able to see him once I’m done with my enrollment with the day program, but he has reassured me he will be making sure I have follow-up care in place before I am discharged.
Back to this no sleep business – it was getting to the point where I was becoming delusional. I felt an obsessive need to do something drastic, though I wasn’t quite sure what that might be.
It has been three weeks and my attendance in the day program has been less than spectacular, but I have been trying my damnedest. My psychiatrist, however, is not comfortable letting me be discharged from the program while I’m still so unstable; so he extended my enrollment for another week because he doesn’t want to leave me in crisis.
Now, this doctor has some great ideas for me, but they’re hard to settle into. He wants me to have a 2 hour wind down window before bed with no stimulating activity, creating a routine for going to bed. While I agree this is a good idea, my body and mind want to fight it.
Finally, he has advised me to take the next semester off school to focus on me. I get it, and even agree, but it breaks my heart. It feels selfish.
Anyway, I’m still feeling as though I’m in a mixed state, though it is trending more positively, and I’ve had lots of energy to get stuff done today, so maybe the new medication mix is working, or the extra sleep it’s been helping me to get is improving my mental state. Regardless, I’m not going to knock it – I’m better than I was last week; which is excellent because he told me I may have to be admitted to impatient if we can’t start getting it under control fast.
Sleep is my biggest struggle at the moment. I’ve got a bunch of handouts on different things to do to be more effective at bedtime, but I still struggle. It’s something that’s going to need to be addressed on a deeper level.
So, that’s what’s been going down and why I’ve been so quiet. I’m around though, lurking.
Keep on truckin’ peeps!